by Edward Prewitt

State of the CIO 2003 Quiz – What’s On Your IT Agenda?

Apr 01, 20038 mins

Types of CIOs. Some are cost-conscious?or are forced to be by the current economic climate. Other CIOs work for companies that are focused on growth and innovation, either because they see that as the key to gaining a long-term competitive advantage or because they view it as a tactical method for escaping their current fiscal mess. Still other CIOs are focused on operations and productivity?doing what they already do, only better.

Take our quiz to confirm just which kind of CIO you are. (You can compare your answers with those of the respondents to “The State of the CIO 2003” survey by going to Then turn to the appropriate agenda to find 10 items for next year’s to-do list?some with resources appended, a few tongue-in-cheek. The quiz begins on the inside of this pullout section. READ ON

The CIO Quiz

How does your 2003 I.T. budget compare with 2002?

Lower overall

Higher overall

Lower, but with the same responsibilities

How does your organization budget for I.T.?

As a cost center

As an investment center that generates new business capabilities

Tied to business unit performance or company productivity

What’s your top spending priority this year?

Not spending External customer service/relationshipmanagement; implementing new technologies such as wireless Integrating systems and processes; aligning IS and business goals

Which statement best describes your philosophy on the I.T. department’s role in the organization?

To be as small a drain as possible To envision business possibilities and initiate with IT To enable business initiatives

What’s the biggest barrier to effectiveness in your role?

Money’s too tight to mention Lack of key staff and skills; fast-changing technology; poor vendor support Aligning IS and business goals; managing user expectations

Do you spend a quarter of your time or more in the following activity?

Waiting outside the CFO’s office Interacting with outside business partners; learning about technologies Working with business executives and managers

What personal skills are most critical for success in the current business climate?

Negotiation skills Knowledge of technology options; technical proficiency Understanding business processes and strategies

Have you held jobs in the following areas during the course of your career?

Accounting and/or finance Sales and/or marketing Administration and logistics

What’s your single most important metric for determining I.T. value?

ROI, ROI, ROI Contribution to revenue growth Improved efficiency and productivity

Overall, what impact did I.T. have on the enterprise in 2002?

We cut costs We helped grow existing revenue streams and drive business innovation We increased productivity If the majority of your answers fall in this column, you focus on reducing costs. Go to Agenda No. 1.

If the majority of your answers fall in this column, you focus on growth and innovation. Go to Agenda No. 2.

If the majority of your answers fall in this column, you focus on operations productivity. Go to Agenda No. 3.

c? Take the quiz online and see how you stack up against respondents. You’ll also get live links to resources that will help you further your agenda. Go to

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Focus Guide on The Elite CIO: Principles and Practices of Top-Tier IT Leadership. Find it and other Focus Guides at

The Cost-Focused CIO

Agenda No. 1

The corporate mantra these days is “cut, cut and cut some more.” Your staff is disappearing, your systems are squeezed, and you’re looking to free up money wherever possible. You’re hardly alone in this focus on frugality. When listing their biggest

job hurdles, your peers responding to “The State of the CIO 2003” survey overwhelmingly cited weak corporate performance and inadequate budgets as their top problems. These shrinking budgets explain why the CFO is reasserting his hegemony. In last year’s “State of the CIO” survey, only 11 percent of CIOs said they reported to the CFO. This year, however, twice as many respondents?22 percent?report to the CFO.

To Do:

  • Memorize the names of 10 different valuation methods.
  • Learn the lingo of your CFO.
  • Look for unnecessary spending in your administrative and infrastructure costs. Then look deeper.
  • Get your supply chain online?including second- and third-tier trading partners?and cut out millions in transaction costs.
  • Eat a sandwich you’ve brought from home for lunch.
  • Set up that chargeback system you’ve always thought about.
  • Outsource any work that isn’t tied down, including the associated employees. But be prepared to take back some control when the economy rebounds.
  • Just say no to software upgrades and Microsoft’s Licensing 6.0.
  • Call secondary-market resellers when you’re ready to buy equipment. You’ll never pay retail again!
  • Finally, join a support group of CIOs who have no money (no membership fee, BYOB).


For cost-cutting tips and techniques, see these corresponding articles from CIO:

  • A Buyer’s Guide to IT Value Methodologies July 15, 2002
  • Get in Touch with Your Inner CFO July 15, 2002
  • Penny-Pinching All-Stars April 15, 2002
  • How to Grow Your B2B Network June 15, 2002
  • Chargeback for Good or Evil March 1, 2003
  • A Buyer’s Guide to Offshore Outsourcing Nov. 15, 2002, and How to Get In and Out of an Outsourcing Deal Dec. 15, 2001/Jan. 1, 2002
  • Enterprise Software Upgrades: Less Pain, More Gain Nov. 15, 2002, and Showdown at the 6.0 Corral March 15, 2003
  • Good Stuff Cheap Oct. 15, 2002

Find links to these articles at

The Growth-Focused CIO

Agenda No. 2

Your way of thinking is “keep growing this company or it will die.” Sure, times are tough, but an organization that retreats into its shell isn’t likely to become or remain an industry leader. You’re seeking IT solutions that will give your company an edge. Like 42 percent of “The State of the CIO 2003” respondents, you believe IT’s role is to conjure up business opportunities and nurture them through technology. And you have some cash to work with?48 percent of survey respondents said their IT budgets actually increased in 2003, the downturn notwithstanding. Just under half of the surveyed CIOs said their top spending priorities included a focus on external customers, either in the form of better service or customer relationship management. New technologies such as wireless were rated a top spending priority by 24 percent of respondents.

To Do:

  • Gain momentum with quick-win technologies that save the company money with minimal investment.
  • Plan your hiring strategy now, while high-quality IT talent is still available.
  • Map out how you plan to transform the enterprise.
  • While everyone else is hunkering down, hunt for technologies that will allow your company to leapfrog competitors.
  • Eat lunch with the sales force at least once a week.
  • Take the e-commerce reins, and incorporate e-business into your overall IT strategy.
  • Bring your legacy systems into the 21st century.
  • If your company is in trouble, convince the board that you have a technological magic bullet. Then figure out whether you can pull it off.
  • Convince your CFO that value created for customers is a better metric for IT projects than ROI.
  • Finally, give a keynote speech to a roomful of CIOs on how you’ve managed to remain focused on growth and innovation.


For growth and innovation strategies, see these corresponding articles from CIO:

  • Overachiever Nov. 1, 2002
  • Ready, Aim, Hire Aug. 1, 2002
  • Three Steps to a Technology Transformation Hot Seat, Sept. 1, 2002
  • Buyer’s Market Sept. 1, 2002
  • The New Lords of E-Biz March 15, 2003
  • Reaching Back in Time Emerging Technology, June 15, 2002, and Pull the Plug on Your Legacy Apps March 15, 2002
  • As the Companies Turn Nov. 15, 2002
  • Damn the ROI, Full Speed Ahead July 15, 2002

Find links to these articles at

The Operations-Focused CIO

Agenda No. 3

Keep doing what we’re doing, but do it better” is your philosophy. You have the right systems in place and good working relationships with your executive peers; you look to operational efficiency and higher productivity to carry the company through this rough patch. When asked what impact IT had on the business in 2002, respondents to “The State of the CIO 2003” survey said increased productivity above all. Their single most important metric for IT value, wrote many of the survey respondents, is improved efficiency and productivity. The top spending priority for 2003, listed by 71 percent of survey respondents, is integrating systems and processes.

To Do:

  • Bone up on best practices for business-IT integration.
  • Set up governance structures that make IT and the business side jointly responsible for linking technology to company strategy.
  • Limit the size of projects, and require that they deliver value within six to nine months. Massive IT projects usually have significant problems with time, scope or budget.
  • Reject new systems if they’re not scalable.
  • Treat the company’s line managers to Happy Hour. After a few drinks, ask what they really think of the IS group.
  • Buy point applications, which are often cheaper and more functional than enterprise application suites.
  • Use demand-planning software and other inventory management applications to replace your inventory with information.
  • Tame your storage costs by building an enterprisewide storage architecture.
  • Make your business more flexible and adaptable with business process management tools.
  • Finally, give the same presentation to the executive board, business line managers and your IT staff on the need to align their goals and efforts.


For ideas on better operations and improved productivity, see these corresponding articles from CIO:

  • The Integration Imperative Aug. 15, 2002, Special Issue
  • The Powers That Should Be Sept. 15, 2002
  • Organizational Physics Hot Seat, Aug. 1, 2002, and Reducing Risk by Managing Chunks Page 92
  • Pilot Pathology Nov. 1, 2002
  • This Could Be the Start of Something Small Feb. 15, 2003
  • Hot Potato! Jan. 15, 2003
  • What Elephant? Emerging Technology, May 15, 2002
  • Process Power Emerging Technology, Dec. 15, 2002/Jan. 1, 2003

Find links to these articles at